LSC — Redesigning “Immersion” canvas

I redesigned the LSC Immersion canvas. The outcome is a more actionable, visual, intuitive and easier to communicate — at least for me.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is targeted for people participating in the LSC Community. If you have no idea what Lean Service Creation is, go check it out at . It is an open source design process and toolkit developed at Futurice. The first part of the post might still be interesting to read, and it is not too specific to LSC.


The main motivation behind the redesign was to make the Immersion canvas work better for me. I am a visual and audio learner, and I hate reading. I felt that the current version was too “list like”, and I wanted to make it more intuitive and insightful.

My favourite use of time is coming up with new product and service ideas. Lean Service Creation -process has been a great help with this. This is why I redesigned the LSC Immersion canvas. The outcome is a more actionable, visual, intuitive and easier to communicate version— at least for me. I subtitled the canvas with the phrase: “Let’s build some shared intuition.”

This blog post consists of two parts:

  1. Definitions of actionable, visual, intuitive and easy to communicate.
  2. Argumentation behind the new components of the canvas.

So first let’s clarify what I mean by actionable, visual, intuitive and easy to communicate.


More actionable

For me actionability goes hand-in-hand with accountability. This means that after we have filled the canvas with our insights and ideas, as an end-product we should have easy-to-execute action steps for “what next?”. These action steps work also as reminders to us and others, of how much knowledge-work we have done. How many shareholders have we contacted? Did we book the meeting with accounting? Are we learning — or are we part of a value scam?

Planning to plan — value scam.

More Visual

To be honest, I dislike reading. I also quite much hate writing. I acknowledge their power in creating knowledge and deep understanding. But after I have honed my thoughts to simpler insights, I want to live in a world where people “just get my ideas.” If I need a recap on a book I’ve read — I read the abridgement. Visuality is an art form of communicating implicit ideas and knowledge in an intuitive way, and in this version of the canvas I try to achieve that.

Visuality is an art form of communicating implicit ideas and knowledge in an intuitive way.

More intuitive

*** Be aware of possible misuse of terminology. Tread at your own risk. ***

I’ve just got acquainted with Kahnemann’s agents of “intuitive system 1” and “effortful system 2” of the general thought processes of us humans. In the case of LSC canvases I relate to them in the sense that, while brainstorming and putting knowledge to the wall, we will be using rather large amounts of our effort in “system 2”. Usually we come up with fascinating hypothesis, views of the future and the present. But after all of the hard work of creating that shared knowledge and bias inside the team, I want to be able to just glimpse at the canvas and get an intuitive feeling of the situation (system 1). No reading, no writing. Just pure intuitive shared bias between the service creation team.

I want to be able to just glimpse at the canvas and get an intuitive feeling of the situation

Easier to communicate

This is tightly linked to visuality, intuition and actionability. You could say that it is their love child. There are two main points to why we want to achieve ease of communication:

  1. The team has a shared intuition and biases about the future. These can be triggered easily by staring at the canvas for 5 seconds. All the members can easily answer: What this canvas represents and what are the actions we are carrying out because of it? Everyone still agrees? Good . — “Mennään eteenpäin. ( eng. Let’s go forward .)” - T. Jutila
  2. The ideas are easier to communicate to product owners, members of your organisation and 3rd party experts. If a colleague looks at the canvas and asks: “Is this all you have done?” maybe criticises your views on competition or market knowledge — then you have already won. HE UNDERSTANDS. He is using his intuition and it is your job as a service designer to understand his/your biases and how to work with them.

For me part of Lean is also cutting waste from internal and external communications. I see LSC as a lean process with a continuous movement forwards. As part of this movement forwards, you will need to communicate your rather raw visions to 3rd parties such as professors, investors etc., who (let’s be honest) doesn’t necessarily give jack-shit about your project. They have their own troubles. The less of mental challenge it takes for stakeholders to understand your goals and views, the better the chances are of you getting them involved and thus succeeding in your quest in making the world a better place.

The less of mental challenge it takes for stakeholders to understand your goals and views, the better the chances are of you getting them involved and thus succeeding in your quest in making the world a better place.


Now I will go through the general idea of each section of the canvas and their components in my proposed version of the Immersion canvas.

SECTION 1: Customer problem, attitude and decision making model

Old version: “Your best guess of the customer problem.”

The main game-changes are the picture and the “intuitive decisions vs active thinking” components. And maybe as a primer I would rather ask: “Who are the customers who are influenced by our business goal?”

Photo: I love photos. I have never regretted spending 5 minutes searching for the photo or video that emits the “feeling” I have. And on a early stage of an idea, it might be the easiest way to articulate stuff. They can emit many implicit biases that we can agree on early on.

Quote: The quote is probably pretty much the same as you would write on the old canvas. I just like to write them as “user storiesh” way because it helps me capture how I think the customer feels, thinks, and talks.

Intuitive vs active: This is influenced by the first half of what I’ve read of Kahnemann’s Thinking Fast and Slow. I really think this can be a great reality check of what kind of problem we are actually trying to solve. A one where the customer or/and end-user will make the decision on intuition or a one that he/she is going to spend some time figuring out.

Example: Choosing which milkshake to order vs. what laptop to buy.


Old: Competitors from customer’s perspective, Competitors within our business domain, How could current business be disrupted?

These are good sections as they are. But I am adding a new element (the scale) to the competition fields to make it easier to communicate the competitive mind set and situation. I also just made the disruption field funkier. Because it is disruptive.

Competitors from Customer’s POV: No major changes. I would just like to have a voting discussion about, if this is a “nice to have” problem or a “must have” problem we are solving. In other words — will we face the challenge of the customer not giving jack shit EVEN though we know we are creating value for them. For me this emphasises if we are on a intuition based market, where customers do unrational decisions when choosing between between competitors.

Competitors from Business POV: Again nothing special. I would just like to have voting discussion, where we discuss are we solving business critical problems in the sense that we can expect more aggressive reactions from our know competitors.

Who might disrupt us: I just changed the base design, since if we want to even try to understand how could we be disrupted we need to get funky. So write your ideas in a 45–180 degree angle to make people turn their heads — and hopefully trigger a psychosomatic way of “looking at things from another perspective of point of view”. We all do it. Even dogs do it when they try to figure things out.

Out of comfort zone stuff: If you really want to make your brainstorming fun — put a pencil in your mouth sideways so that you force yourself to smile. (Now you are forcing yourself to use your intuition) Now put it in with the rubber side, to force your lips together. (Now you are using your analytical and rational thinking) You can already feel how you are analysing your business fields from different angles and ways. Thanks Kahnemann! You’re the greatest!

SECTION 3: POSITION & WHAT WE LOVE or “How do we fit in the world?”

Old: Hottest Start Ups & Inspiring Services and Products

Hey ho Venn diagram! The point here is to understand who we are in this cool ecosystem of cool [insert your industry here] companies. It is important to understand what makes our company us, and what are the things the GP (General Public) seems to love? And where do these two meet?

Just fill the Venn diagram so that on the left ellipse you fill services, products and companies you think that the GP loves. On the right circle fill the ones that your company or your design team love. If they fit to both, it goes to the overlapping space.

In the end you should have an idea: what is the “mainstream” from your point of view? What do you think makes your company special? What do you think the GP or your customers love about your company?


Old: Hot Names, Public debate around the topic

The main idea is to have two actionable lists. One to check off and one to remind you of your daily resources.

People to contact ASAP: As said in the LSC booklet, you can learn more from a 2 hour interview with a scientist who has studied the field for 10 years — than 2 weeks of googling around. Collect a list with checkboxes of people you need to meet ASAP. This list will work as a reminder to set up meetings, and check them off after you have met with them. Be accountable. Make sure you at least try to reach the people you have identified as important to your project.

Daily media: Listing the ideas and topics of public debate is okey. Reading and participating in the debate as it happens is better. List here the main hash-tags, blogs, news columns, sub-reddits or whatever where the discussion takes place. Follow them on a daily basis and set up some “google search alerts”.

That is pretty much it. This was my brain child after sitting on the airplane for 14 hours in a single day. It was greatly influenced by:

  • My own experiences struggling with product/service design
  • My own experiences struggling to keep myself honest to the process
  • My own experiences understanding that the world doesn’t own you anything
  • Kahnemann’s first half of Thinking Fast and Slow
  • Lean Service Creation framework
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